Ag Business Incubator Coming to Andes
The Delaware County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) announced its pending purchase of the former Andel Inn, on state Route 28 in Andes on Friday, Feb. 22. The purchase, according to IDA Executive Director Glenn Nealis, furthers the IDA’s mission of investing in infrastructure necessary to support industry.
Plans for the site include the creation of an Agricultural Business Incubator - the first of its kind in Delaware County. The facility will have a shared, certified, community kitchen, where local farmers can test market value added products and showcase locally produced goods. Establishing a shared certified kitchen, Nealis said, will remove a huge financial barrier to small ag-related businesses who are looking to develop product.
The facility and property are assessed at $485,000 and will be purchased by the IDA for $320,000.
As as public authority, the IDA is regulated by General Municipal Law and is exempt from paying property taxes. Taxes currently being paid on the property are $1,746 to the town of Andes, $2,775 to Delaware County and $3,503 to the Andes Central School District.
The IDA was criticized by the MAR-K Project Board President at an Andes Planning Board meeting earlier this month for the potential loss in tax revenue.
The criticism is not warranted, Nealis said. “We believe the benefits of this project - both for the town and county - will substantially outweigh the minimal loss in tax revenue.”
Likewise, Nealis said, The MAR-K Project is similar to the IDA in that it is a not-for-profit entity that owns millions of dollars in tax exempt properties in Delaware County.
The IDA negotiated an option to purchase the property in January, with a 60-day window to further research the viability of the planned project. After reviewing a proposed business plan and financial projections from a prospective operator, the IDA moved forward on the project.
It is anticipated that the IDA will finalize the sale of the property within 30 days, Nealis said. The next step in making the project a reality, he said, is to obtain site plan and special use permit approval from the Andes Planning Board, following a public hearing on March 12.
The purchase of the property and the creation of the Ag Business Incubator, Nealis said, will be a “boon” for the local economy. “Not only will ag businesses be able to diversify their operations,” Nealis said, “but they will be able to enhance the sustainability of their current enterprise, which will, in turn, help preserve Delaware County’s farm landscape by increasing the profitability of local agricultural.”
With the continued development of our local food industry, Nealis said, Delaware County will be poised to capture an increasing share of the New York metro-area market for Catskill-made goods.
The former Andel Inn in Andes is to be sold to the Delaware County IDA for $320,000.